~Tuesday, September 13, 2022~
Day 85 of Alaska Trip
What a change in the weather……windy, stormy, cold, light rain off and on. I guess we were lucky to have had a few nice weather days in Skagway, evidently, a rarity. Today, the number of cruise ships in harbor…..3. Had they been here yesterday, their experience would have been quite different. Nothing like getting off a nice, warm cruise ship to conditions like this, though it didn’t seem to phase very many of them. All geared up with their umbrellas, the nasty weather didn’t seem to keep them on ship.
Since early September, with every new city we visit, we keep trying to see those Northern Lights. We even have an app that tells us the optimum time to see it. Even though it seems to be right over us lately, we either have too many clouds or a moon that is too bright. Known as the “holy grail” of skywatching, it is also a very violent event…violent in itself, but luckily not on earth, thanks to our magnetic field. Energized particles (protons) from the sun, slam into Earth’s upper atmosphere at speeds of up to 45 million mph. That is really astounding that something so beautiful could be so threatening. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed that Canada will be THE place to witness this amazing phenomenon.
The RV park is starting to thin out of summer travelers. Even our fellow RVer’s we follow on Instagram are south of us. So far, we’ve planned it right, with the weather holding out for us. But with it being the middle of September, moving forward, we’ll be keeping a close eye on the weather as we move south. If you haven’t figured it out already, Jeff and I are the type of people who try to squeeze every last drop of a good time. It would take a blizzard and gail force winds to force us to speed up our process in getting to the Lower 48.
The highlights of the day were getting to know the locals and trying out a Skagway favorite….a Klondike Doughboy. The smell alone is enough to lure you in their shop where they sell anywhere between 350 to 500 Doughboys a day, depending on the number of cruise ships that arrive. Rocky and his family have been churning out these delicious crispy treats for 7 years. It tastes a little like a churro, but in a flat shape. While we enjoyed our tasty dessert, Rocky, the owner, gave us a little 411 about running his shop. With Skagway being pretty isolated, freight costs are outrageous. So to save money, Rocky makes a trip to Costco in Juneau 3 times a year to get his supply of flour to keep up with demand. His wife Lillian starts making the dough every morning at 7:00 a.m. while Rocky cuts and stretches the dough after it rises. As of recent, with business so good, they now own, not lease the building they’ve been in for close to a decade. The hope is that their children will take over the business some day. Come season’s end in mid-October, he and his wife are ready for a break and head for warmer surroundings in Arizona.
Next stop….a t-shirt for Jeff at Skagway Brewing. Having had dessert before dinner, we then headed to check out the Red Onion Saloon…..a former bordello established in 1898 for the many lonely miners during the Klondike Gold Rush. Downstairs is the bar/restaurant dimly lit, the walls decorated with racy portraits of the ladies and tacky bedpans in a row near the ceiling. The waitresses, dressed in the same alluring garb they wore back in the day, offer their services only of a museum tour on the second floor for $10, no longer offering the additional services they were known for back in the day. Upstairs are the 10 original rooms where the madam and “her girls” would entertain their clients. Customers chose women by picking from one of the 10 dolls placed at the bar, each representing one of the working ladies. When a doll was chosen, it was laid down on the bar, indicating the woman was at work. If not working, the doll was upright. These “ladies of the night” had quite a thriving business, but a dangerous one at that.
Who knew our day would consist of Doughboys and brothels. But really, it was a fun, final day in Skagway, as we bid farewell to Alaska tomorrow.